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Retailers have increased measures to reduce the amount of customer panic-buying. Empty supermarket shelves have dominated the headlines in recent days, with essentials such as toilet roll, pasta and bread running low in stores.
Earlier this week British retailers said in a joint open letter that they were “doing everything we can” to ensure customers could still buy products needed. The letter, signed by retailers including Iceland, Tesco and Waitrose, also stated that they were “working closely with Government and our suppliers to keep food moving quickly through the system and making more deliveries to our stores to ensure our shelves are stocked.”
Speaking on behalf of the retailers, Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the BRC, added, “Retailers are working incredibly hard to keep shops well stocked and deliveries running as smoothly as possible. In the face of unprecedented demand as a result of coronavirus, food retailers have come together to ask their customers to support each other to make sure everyone can get access to the products they need.”
Further action has now been taken to cope with the demands of panic-buying, with shops announcing reductions in opening hours, restricting purchases per customer and expanding online delivery capacity. Sainsbury’s announced today that it would be reserving the first hour in every store tomorrow for elderly and vulnerable customers to shop.
Will Broome, CEO of Ubamarket, says that in the midst of stockpiling and potential long-term losses, technology could safeguard retailers for the future; “The implementation of retail technology is one way that Britain’s retailers could safeguard themselves against future cases of fluctuating demand and irregular consumer behaviour. With the help of retail-tech, supermarkets and stores can access far more in-depth and accurate consumer data, helping them to assess their behaviour, manage stock more efficiently and effectively, whilst being able to effectively communicate directly to the consumer base.”
How has your independent retail business been affected by stockpiling?